Education: School Uniform Working Group minutes - September 2023

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 12 September 2023.

Attendees and apologies

Deborah Lynch, Scottish Government (chair)
Maxine Booth, Association of Directors of Education Scotland
Greg Dempster, Association of Heads and Deputes Scotland
Izzie Eriksen, ApparelXchange
Linda Gibson, NASUWT
Tracy Johnston, Education Scotland
Alison Herbert, Scottish Council of Independent Schools
Sara McFarlane, Connect
Leanne McGuire, National Parent Forum Scotland
Kelly Munro, Carers’ Trust
Joanna Panese, Scottish Autism
Stuart Pescodd, Scottish Government
Sara Spencer, Child Poverty Action Group Scotland
Mark Stevenson, Schoolwear Association
Matthew Sweeney, COSLA
Douglas Forrester, Scottish Government (secretariat)


Andrene Bamford, Educational Institute of Scotland
Mary Cane, YoungScot
Kirsty McNeill, Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights
Julie O’Byrne, Cool School Uniforms
Linda O’Neill, CELCIS
Carol Thorpe, Educational Institute of Scotland
Fiona McHardy, Poverty Alliance

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

The Chair welcomed the members to the group.

Minutes and actions from the previous meeting

The minutes from the previous meeting on 21 August have been circulated to the group and comments requested by 25 September. Once cleared, the minute will be published on the Scottish Government's website.


The Chair provided an update on actions to refresh the draft guidance following the previous meeting. A further version will be circulated once the Equality and Inclusion section has been revised following this meeting.

Draft Guidance - Equality and Inclusion Section

The Chair circulated a copy of the draft Equality and Inclusion section of the Guidance which is the focus of the meeting’s discussions. Comments on the section were invited by the chair. The group had a broad discussion, the following key points were raised:

  • the group liked the structure of the Equality and Inclusion section. It was suggested that links to examples of good practice should be added throughout
  • the guidance should also signpost to existing resources to reduce the length of this section. It was noted that it may be helpful to reference parts of the European Convention on Human Rights technical guidance for schools on the Equality Act in this section and signpost to Education Scotland or other resources
  • the group discussed the structure of the guidance and the order of the sub-headings in the ‘Specific Considerations’ section.  It was suggested that the Equality and Inclusion section should come first and link to the affordability sections which follows it. However, it was noted that all sections are equally important
  • it was suggested that the Equality and Inclusion section should reference early learning and childcare settings
  • the group noted that the guidance should support schools to have a positive, inclusive ethos to ensure that the needs and identities of children and young people, including those with protective characteristics are reflected
  • it was agreed that the group will draw in other groups or organisations to consider relevant sections of the guidance. This could include Education Scotland’s Equality and Inclusion Team, LGBT Youth Scotland, the Gender Based Violence Working Group, the Racism and Racist Incidents Working Group and the Scottish Government’s Faith and Belief Network
  • it was noted that some of the protected characteristics such as pregnancy and maternity and sexual orientation should be added
  • it was noted that the inclusion section was a useful place to draw out further the themes from the Children’s Parliament engagement with children
  • the group discussed whether a ‘summary’ section should be added highlighting the key aims and actions.  It was noted that text boxes have been added to the beginning of each section to highlight its key aims.  These along with the key principles and reflective questions could be included in a flowchart or table to support schools when they considering their uniform and clothing policy. Linda Gibson and Tracy Johnston agreed to consider this once there was a complete first draft of the guidance. The chair invited other members of the group to get in touch if they would like to be involved with this

Action: Tracy and Linda to consider development of flowchart or table which summarises the key principles, aims and actions to support schools when developing uniform and clothing policies.

  • the group discussed communication and consultation with pupils, parents and carers and the importance of engaging as widely as possible to reflect the views of the whole school community. It was agreed Sara Mc, Sara S and Leanne would consider questions or prompts for schools to support their engagement with families.  The chair invited other members to get in touch if they would like to be involved in this

Action: Sara, Sara and Leanne to develop text to be included to support schools effectively engage with families.

  • it was noted that the guidance should set out the how concerns can be raised. This could also be included in the information for parents and carers and pupils

Next steps

The Chair will continue to update the guidance and consider the best way to share the document with the group for their input.  The Chair will also consider the next date of the group and re-circulate the doodle poll with more options.

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